Message from Program Coordinator, Dr. Chelsea Walton
Welcome to PRIMES Circle!
This new and exciting after-school program provides a wonderful opportunity for you to explore fascinating mathematical theories, such as graph theory, knot theory, or game theory. Working in small groups with other talented students under the guidance of MIT undergrads, you will discover the beauty of the mathematical way of thinking and the thrill of solving a challenging problem.
At PRIMES Circle, you will meet brilliant mathematicians, from professors to undergraduate students, who will guide your interest and help you achieve professional heights.
I look forward to receiving your application!
PRIMES Circle is a free after-school program for talented sophomores and juniors from public high schools of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. They work with MIT professors and undergraduates to study mathematics and to solve challenging math problems beyond high school curriculum. Students focus on a specific area of mathematics, read literature in that area, and practice problem solving, expository writing, and presentation skills.
The goal of this program is to increase diversity in the mathematical community by helping strong students with disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their interest in mathematics and to set them on a path toward pursuing a math-based major in college.
PRIMES Circle students at MIT
PRIMES Circle operates in the study group format. The Circle students work in small groups under the guidance of undergraduate student mentors (two students per mentor). They are assigned readings based on their level and interests. The mentors meet with the students once per week for two hours on MIT campus, explain new material, discuss homework problem solutions, and assign new homework. The mentors check in with the students by email mid-week between meetings. The students are encouraged to email their mentors for assistance, if they are stuck on a problem. Time commitment of at least 5-7 hours per week is expected, including the weekly two-hour meeting with the mentor at MIT.
Success of a student in the program is measured not by the number of textbook pages studied, but by achieving a good understanding of what s/he has read. The pace of study is adjusted to match the individual learning styles of students. Learning proceeds most efficiently when a student studies at his/her natural pace.
In 2012-2013, four MIT and Harvard undergraduate students are serving as mentors. For more information, see Circle Mentors page.
September 15, 2012: Applications are open.
November 1, 2012 (extended due to school closings): Applications and letters of recommendation are due.
November 11, 2012: Finalists come to MIT for informal meetings and level assessment.
Mid-November 2012: Admissions decisions are made; PRIMES Circle students are matched with their mentors.
Late November 2012 – May 2013: Circle students in small groups meet with their mentors on MIT campus every week to study mathematical texts and to receive homework assignments.
June – August 2013: Summer break.
September – November 2013: Weekly meetings with mentors continue. In November, Circle students write an expository paper about their subject of study.
December 2013: Circle students present their expository papers at a workshop at MIT.
In the fall of 2012 PRIMES Circle admitted eight students. The students are selected on the basis of their academic record, teachers’ recommendations, and demonstrated ability and interest in mathematics. Women, underrepresented minorities, and students with economically disadvantaged backgrounds are very strongly encouraged to apply.
Sophomores and juniors from Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville public schools are eligible.
For application procedures, see How to Apply to PRIMES Circle page.
The deadline for applications for 2013 has passed. Information about the 2014 cycle will appear on this page in September 2013.
There is no application fee.
Download PRIMES Circle flyer.